Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. What God is inviting us into is a life in the Spirit, a life that's a walk in the Spirit, walking by grace in the Holy Spirit. And this is just an amazing invitation that this describes your life in Christ Jesus, a walk with God.
That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series Galatians as presented at Rinaldo Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It can be yours for your donation this month made to Alan Wright Ministries.
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Here is Alan Wright. But if you remain completely enslaved to sin, it just demonstrates that grace has not come into your heart. And how are we saved?
We're saved by grace. So there is a way in which there is a lack of evidence in the grace of someone's life that points to the fact that they're missing the kingdom. But the second thing I think that Paul is saying is that you inherit the kingdom of God not just as a future heaven, but also now. And when your life is being ruled by the works of the flesh, you're very far from the things of the Spirit. And if you want to taste of the things of heaven, then you're going to walk in the Spirit. And so part of what Paul is saying here is that those who continually practice the works of the flesh are missing out on the kingdom of God which is at hand.
And the kingdom of God, Romans says, consists of righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit. And so we're missing out on the essence of the kingdom when our life is consumed with works of the flesh. I think that's what Paul means here. He certainly does not mean that all of a sudden he's shifted gears and the focus is on human behavior and whether or not that saves us or not.
That's certainly not what he's saying. I think that we have got to find a way, church, that we can communicate the gospel while speaking of sin and yet not being caricatured by the world as if the church only cares about getting people to quit drinking and smoking. I love the story of the preacher on a Sunday night. He brought these three jars into the pulpit and he put them up there and he had these worms.
And he was doing this big illustration to make his point. And he took the first jar and he put some chocolate sauce down in it and then he pulled one of these worms. He said, look at this worm. Is it alive?
Everybody said, yeah, it's alive. And he dropped it down into the jar with the chocolate sauce in it and it swam around there and got all murked up in the chocolate sauce and next thing you know it had died. And he pulled the worm up and he said, what's that worm now?
And everybody said, dead. And he went on to the next jar and he took a lit cigarette and he put it down into the jar and it filled up with smoke and he grabbed one of those worms and he dropped it down into the jar. And all of a sudden he pulled out the dead worm and said, what's that worm now? And he said, dead.
And he did the thing with the third jar. This time he poured some whiskey in there and he took the live worm and he dropped it in. In a few moments it was dead. He pulled it out. See that worm? Everybody said, yeah, it's dead. And he said, now what's the lesson to be learned from this?
And a little old lady raised her hand and she said, well, I suppose it means if you eat a lot of chocolate and smoke and drink whiskey, you'll never have worms. We've got to find a way to communicate the gospel without people thinking that we're here just as a bunch of religious people with some rules for them, a list of things you ought not do, because the whole power of the gospel is being unveiled in Galatians to say, here's the invitation. Move out from a life under the law where there are works of the flesh and move into a system of grace where you're invited to walk in the Spirit.
That's the contrast. When you walk in the Spirit, does your life look different? Absolutely. Absolutely. Do we want to help people walk in love, joy, and peace? Walk in kindness rather than dissension? Absolutely. To walk in self-control rather than licentiousness?
Absolutely. But the emphasis, what Paul's saying is not on you trying to be a more patient person, but there's a fellowship with the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit, that produces fruit. The idea of our lives being characterized by fruit rather than works is not new. Israel is called the vineyard of the Lord. And Psalm 1 says that whoever is planted next to the waters, that there's a righteousness that comes about just by being planted there and you bear fruit in season and the leaf does not wither.
It's not a new idea. That there can be through a united fellowship with God a change that takes place in your character, in your priorities. There's a big contrast that is being issued here between works of the flesh and fruit of the Spirit.
In the first place, notice the two different words. Works, that's what you get with the law versus fruit, and that's what you get with the Spirit. And notice that works is in the plural, but the fruit of the Spirit is actually singular in the Greek language. There is an expression of the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, and all these different things, but the language that Paul uses here is a singular, the fruit, everyone who has the Holy Spirit has all this fruit.
This is what the Holy Spirit does. And also notice the contrast, again, just studying the language, how there is such a rambling, disorderly list of all these sins that are the work of the flesh, and it doesn't stop there, and plus there are more than these, Paul said. But then when he lists the fruit of the Spirit, there are nine that are listed, and they come in seeming like threes, love, joy, and peace, patience, kindness, and goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Three threes. It is like the order of God himself, and it is harmonious, and love comes first like the fountain head of all of this, all of this fruit. The idea of the flesh, in some places in the Bible when you see the word flesh, it's just referring to your physical body, your physical being. In other places, Paul is using it in some larger sense, and here he's using it in a larger sense. The New International Version refers to it as the sinful nature, but I don't think that captures it either, because when you become a Christian, you actually are made new in Christ, and you have a new nature. You may not feel it right away, and you may not abide by it, but you're defined as a new creature in Christ, and the old is gone.
The correct definition of the Christian's life is not just a miserable old sinner with this living by a sin nature, but you're set apart under God, and Paul calls us holy ones. It doesn't quite work to say the synonym for the flesh is the sinful nature. I think what Paul's saying here is that the flesh is the natural tendency of a human being to gravitate towards the law, either in rebellion or religion, and by self-effort or self-absorption to try to find fulfillment, and there is an allure that is always tempting us towards what Paul calls the flesh. I think that's what he means, and what he's saying is that not only does the flesh and the spirit stand opposite one another, but this defines your spiritual battle. The spiritual battle that you face, therefore, is linked to the system of law versus the system of grace, is linked to the allure of the works of the flesh versus the fruit of the Holy Spirit. If you want to fight the spiritual battle, therefore, the invitation is to always do so from the vantage point of the gospel of grace, the free gift of God. The works of the flesh and the fruit of the spirit, the power of the spirit are in opposition, but it's not dualism. This isn't some cosmic battle where we wonder who wins. There's no comparison to the power of darkness and the power of light.
Many years ago, I saw it just this simply. The light always dispels the darkness, but darkness can never dispel light. You ever think of this, you go into an absolutely dark room, but if you just cut on a small flickering candle, that smallest of candle flames will dispel darkness. There is no such thing, however, as going into a bright room and shining into it a beam of darkness. As strong as the light is over against the dark so that when you turn the light on, the darkness flees, so is the Holy Spirit over all the works of the flesh. There is no comparison, and so you, when you receive the Holy Spirit, you receive the very victory, life-giving power of Jesus Christ in your life. What we're invited into, therefore, is not a self-effort, effort program to overcome our pride and our licentiousness.
What we're invited into is a walk in the Spirit. That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Ever feel like something's holding you back, as if you lack an important key that could change everything?
Is there someone you love who seems stuck? You'd like to help them, but how? What's missing? Blessing. We all need a positive, faith-filled vision spoken over our lives. You can learn how to embrace the biblical practice of blessing through Pastor Alan Wright's new book, The Power to Bless, which quickly became an Amazon number one bestseller after its recent release. Until now, the hardcover book has only been available through retail sales, but this month, Alan Wright Ministries wants to send you the book as our thank you for your donation. Make your gift today and discover the power to bless. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. I know that I often bring up the story of what's called the prodigal son, but it's just my favorite story and it is so remarkable in all of his dimensions of how it explains human nature. But I reference it because if you live under the works of the flesh, it can manifest in either rebellion like the boy that goes to a faraway land and spends his inheritance in riotous living or it can manifest in religiosity like the older brother who stays at home and tries to do everything dutifully. As you know the story, this young son decides he's going to take his inheritance early and he goes and he spends all his money in wild living amongst the prostitutes and he has no real friends, just people that hang around him because he's got money. And when he's run out of money, he's run out of friends and he's run out of food and he finds himself longing to eat the food that the pigs are eating. He's a Jewish boy, not supposed to associate with pigs, but not only is he associated with the pigs, he'd like to even eat their food. And the Bible says he comes to his senses and he says, my father's hired hands are living better than I am. I'm going to go back to my father. When he comes back to his father and he has this rehearsed speech about how he's not worthy, the father is so joyful to see him that he interrupts his son and he gets a robe and puts it on him.
He puts the sandals on his feet. It's all the picture of freedom. Everything the father does is a picture of the announcement of this is my son and we're going to celebrate. And they kill the fatted calf and they have this incredible celebration.
The older brother stays out in the field and he never comes into the celebration. He says, look, I've been slaving for you all these years and you've never even killed me a young goat and now this son of yours comes home and he's got the fatted calf killed for him and the older brother is just jealous and he doesn't come in. And what it is is an expression of two different manifestations of the works of the flesh because they are just as much works of the flesh.
The envy that comes about in the brother or the licentiousness and debauchery that comes about in the younger, it has the same root. For if you live under a system of the law, you'll either say, I can't keep it. I might as well not try. Or you'll say, look how well I keep it.
I'm better than other people. And it just makes me think of this list of sins that Paul lists here, sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality. These things seem to describe the younger brother. But then when he talks about anger and jealousy and strife and rivalry and dissension and division and envy, it sounds like he's talking about the older brother.
So either direction they're equal and opposite but they're works of the flesh. And what God is inviting us into is a life in the Spirit. A life that's a walk in the Spirit. Walking by grace in the Holy Spirit.
And this is just an amazing invitation that this describes your life in Christ Jesus. A walk with God. One of the things I just love as much as anything, just fellowshiping with my wife, is just going for a long walk. We just love doing that. One of my favorite things, just go take a walk on the beach.
I walk with my wife on the beach and we hold hands. We talk. We might stop.
She finds shark's teeth. I never do. We point to things that we see together. We listen. We share. We look at other people, what they're doing.
We comment on how cute the child is who's tumbling about in the surf. We take a walk. When Paul is describing the victorious, powerful Christian life, he's not talking about you striving to be a better person.
What he's actually describing is a walk. The Holy Spirit comes into your life when you're a Christian. Every single Christian receives the Holy Spirit.
We say we have Jesus in our heart. What we really mean is the Holy Spirit, the third person, the triune God, lives in me and He's wonderful. He loves you. He delights in you. Loves being with you.
The same way that a good friend or a spouse, you take a walk with someone. In fact, the word that Jesus uses for the Holy Spirit is the helper or the counselor or the comforter. The word is parakletos. It means called alongside of.
Called alongside. He's the best teacher in the world. He's a counselor. He's a comforter. He corrects in a loving way. He's strong.
He can pick you up when you fall. If you need an image for what it is to live in Christ by grace, it's walking in the Spirit. Walking in the Spirit is a fellowship that just because you have that fellowship produces in your life fruit. You don't produce the fruit. You fellowship with Him. Which means that it is right therefore to spend a lot of time in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Any parent can attest to the fact that it's a myth to say all you need is quality time with your kids.
It doesn't work like that, does it? I think of all the really quality conversations I ever had with my kids. They came at moments I would have never expected them. I wish you could but you can't just say, now next Thursday at 7.30 we're going to meet for a half hour. Here's what's going to happen. During this half hour, son, you're going to tell me some of the deepest needs of your life.
You're going to confide in me the things that you're concerned about or worried about and you're going to also share a couple of great dreams. Then you'll ask me, Father, would you please bless me like the patriarchs of old and lay your hands upon me and I will receive an impartation that will empower me for gracious living. Then we'll have a moment of prayer together and the half hour will be up and we could do it again the next week.
It doesn't work that way, does it? It's through hours and hours together that suddenly bubbles up out of nowhere a revelation, a thought, a moment, an intimacy, a tenderness, an insight, a revelation, a correction. This is the way it is with God. This is the way it is with God. Let your life be lived such that the focus is your fellowship of walking in the Spirit. We don't read the Bible, pray, meditate, fellowship, go to church and do all these things so that God would be more pleased with us as if they were rules. These are just the things that have to do with the fellowshipping of the Holy Spirit. We're drawing towards the end of this fantastic book of Galatians.
I hope that studying it has changed your life. It is an invitation to live by a gospel so pure and so powerful that it is not contaminated with any allure of the law. We are drawn towards the law because the law promises to put us in control. Do this and you'll guarantee that then God will bless you.
Do this and then you'll not be worried anymore. But it is a great deception because in fact of matter the abundant life in Christ Jesus comes not by my efforts but by my surrender to the glad news of what God has done for me in Jesus Christ. And the way that you will overcome sin in your life is not by trying to overcome sin in your life. The way you'll overcome sin is by walking in the Spirit. Those that walk in the Spirit do not produce the works of the flesh.
Instead, produced in them is the fruit of the Spirit and that's the gospel. We all need a positive faith-filled vision spoken over our lives. You can learn how to embrace the biblical practice of blessing through Pastor Alan Wright's new book The Power to Bless which quickly became an Amazon number one bestseller after its recent release. Until now the hardcover book has only been available through retail sales but this month Alan Wright Ministries wants to send you the book as our thank you for your donation. Make your gift today and discover the power to bless. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries.
Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860 or come to our website pastoralan.org. Alan, as we conclude our series on Galatians and we've heard so much about how the gospel is where we find our identity in Christ and the gospel is good news and there's power in the gospel. The secret of all of this really is the Holy Spirit filling our lives and walking in the spirit. Christianity is not an invitation to try to be a good person. It is a relationship in which the pure gospel of grace becomes real to us by the revelation that comes from the Holy Spirit in God's word. And as we see this Daniel and as we are filled with the spirit on a continuing basis he produces the fruit within us. It is not about us trying to be a good person.
It is not about me trying to be more loving or trying that I ought to be more patient. It really is an intimate walk and what a journey it has been through Galatians to see the extraordinary and beautiful portrait of the grace of God and just Daniel how absolutely pivotal how important that this made Paul just absolutely furious against anyone that would contaminate the gospel and how powerful the gospel is when it is purified. Our prayer for everyone that this whole series on Galatians has been liberating and powering and has set your soul into a thrilling journey of wanting only the purity of the gospel. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Alan Wright Ministries.
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